We’re Back

Date Mon, April 10 2017

After some unexpected — and what should have been avoidable — down time, Reviews by Cole (and the rest of my sites) are back.

I apologize for any inconvenience.

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Comixology

Date Wed, March 29 2017

Just over a month ago I subscribed to the 30-day free trial of Comixology with every intent of canceling right when the month was up. I haven’t canceled yet; although, that doesn’t mean that I love Comixology.

The Comixology App

If you’re not familiar, Comixology is a comics app that’s now owned by Amazon. You can get the app for just about any device (iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet, Windows, Mac) or just access Comixology in your browser. So far, I’ve used the Comixology app on my Kindle (just labeled Comics) and in my browser.

I have no problem accessing it. I had logged into Comixology several years before to download some free titles. Last month, I was able to consolidate that with my Amazon account, which I prefer. You can do something similar with your Marvel account. I had no trouble getting or loading the app.

On my Kindle, the app enables me to browse all titles and look through my own library or wishlist. I frequently use the Smart List feature, which shows me my subscriptions, downloads and comics that are currently being read. I can mark as read or unread or archive titles when I’m done. It allows you to rate titles at the end and suggests other titles (either those that I might like or others in the series).

As a Reader

One of my favorite features of Comixology is as a reader. It scales everything to the screen of my Kindle Fire almost perfectly. You can choose to view a single page or two side by side.

Not only does the app remember my place, but there are multiple options to page through them, including page thumbnails and Guided View. I typically read comics in Guided View because the screen on my Kindle is a little on the smaller size, and it magnifies each frame so I can clearly see both text and pictures. Not everyone might enjoy Guided View, however, which can take away from the overall impact of an entire page.

Although you need to be online to download titles, you can read them offline.

Finding Comics

I wanted Comixology to both direct me to new titles that I may be interested in as well as to titles that I already read or knew about and wanted to read. As it turns out, Comixology did well with both tasks.

You can search by company (Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, etc), title or author. Want manga? It’s a click away. If you’re a seasoned comic reader who wants to (re)read a specific story arc (such as Batman: Year One), Comixology lets you do that. Want the newest released? Got it. If you’re completely unsure where to go, there’s a handy link “New to comics? Start here.”

There’s no lack of guidance when it comes to finding the titles you know you want or might be interested in. And as you read titles, Comixology suggests more.

Comixology The app and site also highlight original comics, best sellers, essential graphic novels, titles that are on sale, reduced prices and comics you can grab for free with your Comixology Unlimited subscription.

You’ll find thousands of titles but not all of them. For instance, The Crow is missing. Long graphic novels such as Blankets also can’t be found.

Comixology Unlimited

For around $6 monthly, you can subscribe to Comixology Unlimited. With this service, you get access to comics for no additional charge by “borrowing” the title and returning it once you’ve finished it. I was able to read a number of image titles for free, including entire graphic novels and one series in its entirety (Alex + Ada). And the Unlimited part? Reread as often as you want.

Comixology Unlimited is a great way to try new comics before you buy, and I have since purchased (hard copies of) graphic novels. But it’s far from perfect. The titles available for free through Comixology Unlimited are inconsistent and may change at any time. You might start reading only to realize that only part of the series is available.

Pricing

None of the recent releases are free, so you’re still paying for them if you want to keep up with titles such as those in DC Rebirth. Yes, Comixology prices tend to be more affordable than heading to your local store (sometimes by 50%), and you can keep them all within the app conveniently. But you’re paying that price on top of the Comixology Unlimited subscription.

The pricing structure can also be confusing. You can purchase graphic novels or single issues for a one-time fee through the cart system. Some of those are even free so you own them outright and download them at any time.

You can also subscribe to individual series, but, you guessed it, it’s not free. It’s just a way to automatically access new titles in a series.

This subscription is for new issues in the series.

You will not receive:

  • The current issue
  • Back issues
  • Collected editions

Your primary payment method will automatically be charged when a new issue is released until you choose to cancel. You won’t be charged until the issue is released and we’ll send you an email when your book is available for download. You can manage your subscriptions any time by clicking on “Subscriptions” on your My Account page.

There’s also an option to pre-order upcoming issues individually without subscribing to the series, which might be a better bet if you don’t want to pay for them automatically.

If it sounds confusing, it can be. But it also provides a lot of options for every type of comic reader. For those who follow a number of current titles, Comixology might mean savings over buying actual issues, but you’ll only have them in digital form. Comixology Unlimited enables you to try out new titles or reread applicable titles as many times as you want, but the selection is limited.

As a reader and library, I enjoy Comixology, but I will likely unsubscribe after this month, which will have provided enough time for me to try out everything on Comixology that looked interesting. Unless they add more titles to Comixology Unlimited, I just can’t justify paying for it.

This post contains affiliate links.

$100 Target Gift Card Giveaway [Dropprice]

Date Tue, March 28 2017

Welcome to the Dropprice $100 Target Gift Card Giveaway!

Dropprice is an innovative startup that rewards moms for being social. Essentially, they empower moms to drop prices of kids & baby products with a click. The price continues dropping as more moms click “Drop the price”. Every week new promotions are launched and moms drop prices by sharing them on social media. See the chart below to understand the power moms have and how important it is to share with other moms.

Dropprice $100 Target Gift Card

In today’s promotion for the Baby Banana Brushes, it started out at $28.00 and for each mom that clicks, the price drops a bit. The price will continue to drop for each mom that participates.

Dropprice $100 Target Gift Card

You can choose to share on social media to get more moms to click “Drop the price”, or you can “Buy Now” at the current price. Keep in mind that when the price gets low, they usually sell out and you will no longer have the chance to buy that item. As an added bonus every item on Dropprice ships for free!

Do you want to give it a try? This is such a fun and exciting way for moms to save lots of money by collaborating with each other. If you would like to have a chance to win a $100 Target gift card, you can experience dropping the price by following the instructions below.

Giveaway: Win a $100 Target Gift Card

All you have to do is help moms drop the price of the Brushes and you will be entered to win a $100 Target gift card. Just click “Drop the price” on the entry form below for a chance to win. For even more entries, share it on your social media networks via the entry form — every time one of your friends also clicks to drop the price, you’ll automatically receive additional giveaway entries!

This giveaway ends on 4/4/2017; you must be a US Resident and be 18 years or older to enter. Winners are randomly selected and contacted via email; the winners will be listed at the top of the entry form when the giveaway ends.

Click here if you don’t see the entry form below.

Terms & Conditions | Powered by Dropprice

CLICK HERE TO ENTER TWO OTHER GIVEAWAYS: $100 AMAZON GIFT CARD & $100 WALMART GIFT CARD

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Tem-Purr-A

Date Thu, March 16 2017

Tem-Purr-A is a cat-sushi themed card game for 3 or more players. Now, what do I mean by cat-sushi? Yes, I thought you might ask.

The Tem-Purr-A deck includes cards from 1 through 7 with each depicting a type of cat either serving or dressed as Japanese-themed food. The art is funky, the theme is adorable and they work together better than you’d think. Everyone with whom I’ve played has loved the art of Tem-Purr-A.

I’ve played with a number of different people, all of whom seemed to enjoy Tem-Purr-A. It’s a turn-based game, so you don’t necessarily need to be quicker than anyone else. But you do have a chance to screw over your friends, which is always a fun element in any game.

In Tem-Purr-A, gameplay is a bit like Uno or Crazy 8s. You need to play a card of the same number as the one that’s in the pile, or you can use some specific moves to change the pile. When you get to a point where you have no moves, you have to draw as many cards as total cards in the play pile.

For example, if the playing pile contains three 7s and a single +1, you draw 22 cards. And then you hope and pray because somewhere in that draw pile is at least one indigestion card. If you draw it, you take an indigestion token. But be careful! Three of those and you’ve lost!

As long as you have fewer than three tokens, the game continues on with a new pile. And you can choose to add an indigestion card into the pile to up the ante for other players

At first, the rules seem a bit confusing, but it’s easy enough to understand after playing a round or two, and people seem to especially enjoy the mounting suspense as the sum of the pile gets larger and you know someone is going to wind up with a huge hand of cards.

There aren’t that many strategies; although, my sister, in particular, has stumbled across an interesting one that somehow works in her favor.

Rounds of Tem-Purr-A are fairly quick; although, the size of the deck probably prevents it from being very travel-friendly.

If you’re a fan of card games, cats and sushi, you really can’t go wrong with Tem-Purr-A, but it’s not the most varied or challenging game out there.

$100 Amazon Gift Card [Dropprice]

Date Wed, March 15 2017

Welcome to the $100 Dropprice Amazon Gift Card!

Dropprice is an innovative startup that rewards moms for being social. Essentially, they empower moms to drop prices of kids & baby products with a click. The price continues dropping as more moms click “Drop the price”. Every week new promotions are launched and moms drop prices by sharing them on social media. See the chart below to understand the power moms have and how important it is to share with other moms.

$100 Dropprice Amazon Gift Card

In today’s promotion for the PRIMO LapBaby, it started out at $35.00 and for each mom that clicks, the price drops a bit. The price will continue to drop for each mom that participates.

$100 Dropprice Amazon Gift Card

You can choose to share on social media to get more moms to click “Drop the price”, or you can “Buy Now” at the current price. Keep in mind that when the price gets low, they usually sell out and you will no longer have the chance to buy that item. As an added bonus every item on Dropprice ships for free!

Do you want to give it a try? This is such a fun and exciting way for moms to save lots of money by collaborating with each other. If you would like to have a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card, you can experience dropping the price by following the instructions below.

Giveaway: Win a $100 Amazon Gift Card

All you have to do is help moms drop the price of the LapBaby and you will be entered to win a $100 Amazon gift card. Just click “Drop the price” on the entry form below for a chance to win. For even more entries, share it on your social media networks via the entry form — every time one of your friends also clicks to drop the price, you’ll automatically receive additional giveaway entries!

This giveaway ends on 3/28/2017; you must be a US Resident and be 18 years or older to enter. Winners are randomly selected and contacted via email; the winners will be listed at the top of the entry form when the giveaway ends.

Click here if you don’t see the entry form below.

Terms & Conditions | Powered by Dropprice

CLICK HERE TO ENTER TWO OTHER GIVEAWAYS: $100 TARGET GIFT CARD & $100 WALMART GIFT CARD

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Unnatural Creatures

Date Tue, March 14 2017

Unnatural Creatures is a collection of short stories curated by Neil Gaiman about monsters and fantastic beasts of all sorts. If you’re familiar with Gaiman’s fiction, then you probably expect these stories to be new and unusual takes on those stories, and you’d be right.

In these pages you’ll read about strange spots, griffons, werewolves and sunbirds, just to name a few. You’ve never read stories that depict monsters like these until now. Many of them have surprised plot twists, and why should we expect anything else from Neil Gaiman’s chosen tales?

Like any collection of stories, you won’t love them all. But there are 16 to choose from, including a story by Gaiman himself. They’ll pique your interest even if you don’t love all of them, but I’m sure you’ll like at least a few.

Gaiman has picked stories that he’s enjoyed throughout his life, including those that he read as a kid. Each story is prefaced by a short introduction, so you can learn more about why Neil enjoys it.

Of particular note were The Cockatoucan, a story about a little girl and her nanny who get off the bus at the wrong stop and The Compleat Werewolf by Anthony Boucher, in which the reader gets acquainted with the werewolf’s side of the story. Come Lady Death was easy to visualize as well as a refreshing take on the grim reaper. Finally, The Smile on the Face is modern, perhaps urban fantasy, and empowering, especially for a woman.

A few stories weren’t wins for me: The Manticore, The Mermaid, and Me is strange to the point of confusion and. Prismatica never quite finds its stride (you spend the whole time questing without a satisfying end).

Unnatural Creatures starts strong and continues swiftly. The length of the stories does vary, but it’s a short volume overall. Even the stories you don’t love will pass quickly, and you’ll find yourself finishing the stories you do like and wanting more.

If you’re interested in buying this anthology, you might like to know the following.

Sales of Unnatural Creatures benefit 826DC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students in their creative and expository writing, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

Date Mon, March 13 2017

Some time ago, I decided I didn’t like Jenny Lawson Aka the Bloggess. I don’t entirely recall why. Perhaps it was how everyone seemed to adore her, yet I couldn’t find the humor in her posts.

Maybe it was insecurity as a blogger myself. She was so Internet famous despite having been around the blog (the blog?) nearly as long as I have. She’s even in my dictionary!  Or it might be that reading blogs has never been my forte (and the absence of activity here might indicate that I am not always good at writing them. Hahaha.)

So why did I decided to read Furiously Happy? I don’t know. Perhaps I was looking for lighter reading material. Maybe I thought it was time to really connect with the Bloggess. And connect, I did.

In fact, I not only realized that I do like Jenny’s writing but also that she’s entirely relatable. I can be anxious to the point of neurotic, and Jenny herself has struggled with mental illness, anxiety and depression. That’s really what Furiously Happy is all about. That and taxidermied creatures (like the one on the cover, but it’s not the only one!)

Despite that, or perhaps because of it, Furiously Happy isn’t sad or uncomfortable. No, it’s funny. Wait, it’s hilarious. I laughed out loud in that totally ungraceful time in nearly every section.

The Bloggess writes about being a wife and mother, buying a and remodeling a home, attending blogging conferences, writing a book and doing taxes with a frankness that I might also share. But she’s much better at putting her humor into words that a broad audience can appreciate than I ever can be. And she’s humble and relatable in every word.

It’s not all humorous. Jenny does touch on a few serious things, the human condition you could say. And there was even a point at which I sniffled a little.

I looked forward to reading the book each day, and it was over far too soon. Fortunately, the Bloggess has more books for you (and I) to enjoy.

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